Monday, March 31, 2008

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo......

After more house hunting this past weekend, we're down to two houses. We've made the pro/con lists for both and we just can't decide! Since this is the house we're going to be raising our family in, we want to make the right decision, but it's just SO hard.

House A - 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage, 2 stories with master suite downstairs, formal living room (that will be our playroom), built in the 1980's, zoned to a great school, neighborhood has pools and playgrounds, mature trees, fabulous back patio, lower tax rate, higher asking price

House B - 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage, 2 stories with master suite downstairs, playroom upstairs, built in the 2000's, zoned to a good school, no neighborhood pool or playground, no trees, OK back patio, higher tax rate, lower asking price, easier access to Ryan's work, near the local YMCA

Both houses need some cosmetic updates/changes, but that's no big deal. We're not afraid to tear up carpet or paint some walls.

House A is a tad smaller and doesn't have the "openess" of the other one. And one of the secondary bedrooms is MUCH larger than the other two so I can already hear the arguments from the peanut gallery. But the school is fabulous, we LOVE the back patio and yard, and the neighborhood has a pool (swimming season lasts from May till September around here).

House B is bigger, more open and all of the secondary bedrooms are the same size (meaning no arguing about who got the biggest room), but the previous owners took out the fireplace and put in a dog door. Not so happy with that, but again, that can be fixed (hopefully). And the pantry is in the utility room. That'll take some getting used to. And although there's no neighborhood pool, the Y is close and my sister assures me that the city pool is not far from this neighborhood.

What to do, what to do.....

Thursday, March 27, 2008


According to a story on the local news today, there were TWO car-jackings in my neighborhood last night. One of them was a block from the elementary school we're zoned to and the other was two houses down from our home.

I'm kind of glad we're moving out to the suburbs in a few months.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Busy. This is the only word I can use to describe the last several days.

We had our house hunting Friday morning and afternoon. Then we entertained a friend and his son that evening.

Saturday was spent raking up several bags of leaves (yes, the leaves are still falling around here), dyeing Easter eggs, preparing for Sunday's big meal and taking care of the obligatory bluebonnet photo:


For those of you not from Texas, it is tradition that you drag your children out to a field of bluebonnets every spring and try to get a picture of them sitting happily in said field. We discovered that it is quite impossible to get a good picture of more than one child at a time. I can't imagine how hard it will be next year when we have three whiny children who would rather explore the nearby playground than sit in front of some boring blue flowers.

Sunday just wore us out. We went to our church's Easter service at a nearby park and sped to my in-laws' out in the 'burbs for lunch and a huge Easter egg hunt. Sydney was the oldest of the five kids there and she had the whole hunting thing down:


Liam eventually got it:


Of course, he preferred to just walk around holding the eggs:


He even helped out Sydney:


What a sweet brother.

We then headed out to The Land of Fruit to my sister's house to have dinner and another egg hunt. We were exhausted by the time we got home.

Monday was rather uneventful, except for the fact that I turned 32 (gasp!). The kids and I had lunch with my mom and visiting great aunt at a charming little tea room and then spent the afternoon at my sister's house for a longer visit with the aunt.

And now we're home for the foreseeable future and I'm glad to just be able to sit, relax and raid the kids' haul of Easter candy. Those Robin's eggs are addictive, I tell you!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The One

Is there such a thing as the perfect house? I know everyone has different ideas on what is "perfect", but when you were looking for a house, did you walk into one and just think to yourself, "This is it. This is OUR house."?

We went house hunting in The Land of Fruit today and toured seven homes. One was a good size and had a great floor plan but was in terrible condition. Seriously, terrible condition - dead bugs all over, water damage, missing light fixtures, holes in walls and oh, yeah, EVERY room was painted blue. We call it the Smurf House.

Another one was in impeccable condition and needed absolutely no work at all. The wall colors were great, the backyard was a great size and the kitchen was fabulous. The homeowners even baked cookies and left them on the counter for us. But it just wasn't perfect. It was a great house, but not *exactly* what we wanted.

Are we expecting too much? Should we buy an almost-perfect house (not get everything single thing we want) and settle? Or should we keep looking for "THE ONE"? Is there even such a thing as "THE ONE"?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Silver Linings

This week (so far) has been full of silver linings for us.

All four of us are sick with hay fever. And poor Liam can't sleep thanks to the icky drainage and cough (which means Ryan and I aren't sleeping, either). Silver lining #1? The pediatrician managed to fit him in today and gave him a cough syrup and an antibiotic for an ear infection that we caught just in time.

The antibiotic prescribed for Liam cost almost $60 WITH insurance - yikes! Silver lining #2? The pediatrician gave me a manufacturer's rebate form that will cover most of the cost.

Ryan will not be able to worship with me and the kids Easter morning. Silver linings #3 and #4? My parents are going to keep us company while we watch Ryan play his bass in our church's Easter At The Park service. He's even been on TV in some commercials for it!

I will be a single parent to two children under five while being 8 months pregnant for an entire weekend in April. Silver lining #5? Ryan will be riding his bicycle 187 miles from Houston to Austin to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. If you'd like to donate, click here.

Had any silver lining moments in your life lately?

Monday, March 17, 2008


Welcome to a post with completely random topics and tidbits, none of which deserve a post of their own.


A couple of people have asked if we will be revealing the lists of baby names that we've got going. Unfortunately, no. Several family members read this blog (even if they never comment - hi, sis!) and we want to keep any possible names a secret. Sorry, folks! If I had my way, we'd keep the gender a secret until I get out of recovery from the c-section, but seeing as the babies are naked in the nursery for a couple of hours after birth, I don't think that's possible.


Our minds have been made up on the stay or move issue. We will be moving. In fact, we're hoping to go look at a couple of houses next weekend. There are two we're really interested in.

House A: 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, one story, hardwood floors in living area, ready to move in, impeccable condition

House B: 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage, two story, carpet throughout, play room upstairs, larger yard than House A, foreclosure (likely to get a good deal but have to move fast), needs some work/updating

Both houses are in the neighborhood we really want to move to (good schools, easier commute for Ryan). Keep your fingers crossed!!

As for our current house, we're hoping to keep it and rent it out. Our not selling it does cap the amount the bank will loan us for a mortgage on our next house, but we're hoping the extra income we get will more than make up for it.


And....Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Friday, March 14, 2008


I love my family. I am willing to do lots of things to make them comfortable and/or happy: clean poopy bottoms, wipe snotty noses, scrub icky toilets, cut up raw chicken....well, you get the picture.

The line is drawn at cutting the heads off of live animals, however.

You see, Sunday is my parents' 40th wedding anniversary and to celebrate, we (meaning my parents, my family and my sister's family) are having a huge picnic tomorrow. Their only request was that we have shrimp and my sister and I could plan the rest of the food and activities.

Since Ryan is the official crustacean cooker of the family, we agreed to supply the shrimp. I looked around for a good deal and found one at a local grocery store (hurray for Hispanic grocery stores with seafood departments during Lent!) that I just couldn't pass up. Unfortunately, to get the good price, I had to buy the shrimp with veins, shells and heads.

"No big deal," I thought. I can peel shrimp. I can de-vein shrimp. Certainly I can cut their heads off, right?

WRONG. Just as I got my work station set up and had my hand poised to pick up the first shrimp, it's little leg/tentacle (whatever you want to call it) moved. "It just shifted a bit," I thought. And then it moved again. And then another one moved.

After silently screaming, since Liam was down for his nap, I hurriedly called Ryan. He suggested that I take them back to the store. What would I say? "Ummm....I'd like to return this really fresh seafood because I'm a total wimp." Or "Can I exchange these really fresh shrimp for some really dead ones?" Certain I'd become the crazy Anglo lady whose squeamishness would be the fodder for much laughter among the store employees, I quickly vetoed that idea.

The shrimp are now wrapped back up and in the fridge awaiting certain death once Ryan gets home this evening. Luckily for my parents, he has no problem cutting the heads off of live animals (or boiling them alive in the case of crawfish).

And what did I learn from this? Despite being able to tolerate the likes of infant explosive diarrhea and yogurt based vomit, I cannot decapitate live creatures. I also learned to not be so cheap and to buy the beheaded, de-veined shrimp next time.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Over the weekend, Sydney was in a style show at my parents' church. She got to go to a major department store and pick out an outfit to model in front of over 100 ladies (and a few men). Of course, the outfit had to coordinate with my dad's since he was Sydney's escort. There was even a cosmetologist at the style show to do hair and makeup for the models. Needless to say, Sydney was in heaven.

Here she is with my dad:


Here's her "official pose":


And her "silly pose":


I wouldn't be surprised if she declares her new life's ambition to be modeling (instead of a fairy princess). Sadly, due to her gene pool, she will not be blessed with height, so I'm not so sure how modeling will work out for her. But perhaps she'll be satisfied to model in future church fashion shows.


And in baby name news, as predicted, Ryan pared down our list of possibilities. We're down to 12 girl names (from 16) and 8 boy names (from 13). Of those, I really like 5 of the girl names and 3 of the boy names. So we're getting closer!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Baby Name Madness

Upon the suggestions of Swistle and Mairzy and their "Baby Naming Blog", I checked out "The Baby Name Wizard" from the library (can you believe there are only THREE copies of this in our entire city library system?!?).

What I found most interesting about the book was the sibling name choices it gives. For example, for the name Sydney, it suggests sister names of Mackenzie, Bailey, Aubrey, Jordan & Shelby. For brother names, it suggests Hunter, Logan, Dalton, Connor & Parker.

For Liam, it suggests the sister names of Chloe, Ava, Mia, Lily & Riley. For brother names, it suggests Gavin, Riley, Aidan, Carson & Connor.


NONE of those names were on our lists. Some of them fall into one of my two "no-no" categories: last names turned into first names (Bailey, Jordan, Hunter, Logan, Dalton, Parker, Carson) and names that can be either boy or girl names (Mackenzie, Jordan, Shelby, Riley, Aidan [seriously, I know a little girl named Aidan]). I have no problem with other people using names that fall into those two categories, but they're just not for me.

Ironically, according to the book, Sydney falls into both of those categories. Maybe it didn't bug me as much when we named her almost five (gasp!) years ago. Or maybe we just really loved Sydney Bristow five years ago.

I won't tell you which ones, but a couple of the names the book suggested were added to our ever-growing lists. And now we're up to 16 probable girl names and 13 probable boy names. I'll be handing the list to Ryan tonight so that he can scratch out the ones he doesn't like. Therefore, the list should be cut almost in half by tomorrow morning. And since we generally shy away from names that fall into the current "Top Ten", several more will be cut just because they're too popular. After all, I don't want my child to be labeled "Emily L." or "Jacob L." for their entire school career (and no, neither Emily nor Jacob are on our lists).

Naming a baby is tough and for some reason, naming Baby #3 has proven to be the most difficult for us. Silly me thought it would be EASIER having done it twice before.

At least we still have two more months to decide. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pregnancy Weirdness

Lots of people have asked me how this pregnancy compares to my other two. I think they're just trying to figure out the gender of the baby (which is funny because keeping the gender a surprise seems to be driving everyone else crazy, but not us).

I wish I could give them some "clues", but generally, it's going the same as the other two. I had terrible morning sickness with all three. I've had a couple of bouts with heartburn, but I had that with them, too. And the anemia? Well, that's par for the course as well.

There have been a few differences, but I don't think they have anything to do with gender (that I know of at least - if you've heard differently, please clue me in). For instance, this time, I have had terrible nose bleeds. The doctor didn't seem concerned or even bother to tell me how to prevent them. He simply said, "That's fairly normal." Thanks, pal. Because I'm really enjoying having blood drip out of my nose with absolutely no warning (at CHURCH) and waking up congested with blood instead of the usual pregnancy-induced sinus ickiness.

My hips have also been giving out/popping out of place. I didn't have that with Sydney or Liam. I suppose my body didn't get the memo that a c-section has been scheduled and it doesn't have to prepare for labor.

And the weirdest thing has been the dreams. I remember having strange dreams with the other two but nothing like what I've been having lately. The top three weird dreams I've had so far:

1) I could tell women the gender of the baby they were having by the way they cut chicken. I'd watch them cut up chicken (like for a casserole) and I could instantly tell by the way they cut it if they were having a boy or girl. I interpret this to mean that I've been cooking chicken too often and need to broaden my repertoire of dinner menu items.

2) We went to a local art/street fair and saw a vendor selling toupees. Ryan insisted on buying one that looked like squirrel fur. It looked so fake and I tried to convince him that he did not need it, but he wouldn't listen. I'm at a loss for an interpretation of this one.

3) We went to our big ultrasound and instead of seeing a baby on the screen, we saw a sock monkey. The doctor acted like it was completely normal, even saying, "Here's your baby!" All the while, I'm lying on my back covered in ultrasound goo crying out in disbelief that I would be giving birth to a sock monkey in a few short months. I haven't looked at a sock monkey the same way since. In fact, they pretty much give me the creeps now.

So....what's the weirdest thing that happened to you while pregnant? What was your weirdest dream?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hallelujah X 3.....And Also a (semi) Cowgirl

Whoever said that bad news comes in threes must have gotten it wrong because for me, at least this past week, GOOD news came in a set of three.

Hallelujah #1: My test results came back and I do not have gestational diabetes. I do have pregnancy-related anemia again, but that's no surprise. I'm just thrilled that I don't have to give up carbs and sweets! I think I'll celebrate with a milkshake.

Hallelujah #2: After sitting in a crowded room with 50 other hopeful mothers and their restless children, Liam's name was finally called ensuring that he has a spot in a Mother's Day Out program next fall. Seeing as this program is at my sister's church in The Land of Fruit (and I've already paid the non-refundable registration fee and one month's tuition), this pretty much confirms that we are, in fact, moving out to the 'burbs sometime this summer.

Hallelujah #3: Liam is FINALLY walking!!!!!! He toddles all over the place now. Check out this video for proof. Of course, I recorded it a week ago today so he still looks wobbly, but he is really starting to take off. Pretty soon I'll be running after him.


Friday was "Go Texan Day" here in Houston. I always hated Go Texan Day growing up because 1) my family never went to the rodeo it celebrates and 2) I didn't have any Texan-y things to wear. I've never owned a pair of cowboy boots (and, frankly, I never plan to), I don't listen to country music, and the last time I rode a horse was at Girl Scout Camp circa 1986. Ryan feels the same way about it as I do, minus the fact that even though he claims that he hates country music, he magically knows the words to just about any old-school country song that we happen to hear when we're out and about. Anyway, I digress....

As much as we dislike the whole stereotypical Texan thing, Sydney, however, was all gung-ho about it and who could blame her with her teachers hyping it up all week. So, I did the best I could in putting together a cowgirl outfit for her. Does this look cowgirl-ish enough to you? (You can't really see them, but she's wearing her knee high black boots under her jeans.)


I certainly hope it's Texan-y, because after last year, when I completely ignored it and dressed her in regular clothes, the other kids made fun of her and even her teacher semi-scolded me at pickup time. Sheesh.

So this year, I actually tried and Sydney seemed to fit right in. Who knew that there would be so much peer pressure in pre-school?